Logic Pro vs. Cubase: Pros & Cons of Both


Logic Pro and Steinberg Cubase have long track records and have set industry standards in the digital audio workstation (DAW) fields. With recent upgrades, both DAWs have upped their games and offer a host of unique features. However, trying to decide which of these iconic brands suits you best can be a difficult task.

Cubase excels as a cross-platform DAW with enhanced synchronization and precision editing and is top in MIDI composition. On the other hand, Logic Pro is limited to Mac OS but is easier to use than Cubase and offers dynamic Live loops for non-linear composition.

You may just be setting out in music production software or considering an upgrade to Cubase or Logic Pro and might find yourself unsure which to choose. If so, please read on for a comprehensive list of each DAW’s features, pros, and cons to help you make the best decision.

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What Is DAW?

A digital audio workstation or DAW is a device or application software used to produce, edit, or record audio files for music, film, and television. Modern DAWs have a central interface where users may alter and mix multiple recordings into a final produced piece. The DAW provides the means for musicians, singer-songwriters, film production companies, and podcasters to produce complex recorded audio. 

DAWs offer a wide variety of software plugins to expand the variety of sounds and manipulations in audio production and editing. Each plugin can generate and manipulate sound, tone, pitch, and sound speed and transform the sound into something different. You may use multiple plugins in layers to create distinctive sounds and automated to manipulate original sound sources. 

For more information, check out this article on the best DAW for recording vocals.

Cubase: A Brief Overview

Steinberg Cubase is a DAW created for creating music and Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) recording, arranging, and editing. The original Cubase has its origins in 1989 as a MIDI sequencer that ran on the Atari ST computer. A year later, Cubase became available for Apple Macintosh and established Steinberg’s cross-platform compatibility and eminence in the DAW niche.

Cubase remains one of the top-rated DAW systems globally and maintains a growing base while keeping its loyal fanbase. The Cubase comes in three versions that accommodate the complexity of users’ needs with various features and budgets. Users have the option to upgrade their features as they progress in their music production requirements. 

The three main versions of the Steinberg Cubase are Cubase Elements, Cubase Artist and Cubase Pro.  

Cubase Elements

Cubase is the ultimate DAW for those starting in audio recording and sequencing. The Element version does not offer a large amount of content (16 VST slots only). You may find some of these limitations affect your project, depending on your production’s scale and complexity. However, users may layer up to 48 audio tracks, which are ample play for those who are new to the field.

Features of the Cubase Elements are:

  • 64 MIDI tracks
  • 48 audio tracks
  • 24 instrument tracks
  • Instrument sounds >1000
  • 16 rack instruments
  • 16 Group Channels
  • 47 VST plugins

Cubase Artist

Cubase Artist is an excellent option for experienced musicians looking for a sequencer for their home studio that delivers professional results. The Artist version may sacrifice some of the Pro version’s high-end features, such as the advanced notation support and surround mixing, but it is still a very capable sequencer. 

The Artist still offers plenty of audio effects and a selection of virtual instruments. Some of the features include:

  • 32 Virtual instrument slots
  • 128 MIDI and 64 audio tracks 
  • Standard MIDI control 
  • Unlimited MIDI, Audio, and VST instrument tracks
  • 4 MIDI plugin insert slots & sends
  • 18 VST MIDI effect plugins
  • >2600 Instrument Sounds

Cubase Pro

Steinberg Cubase Pro is a high-end digital audio workstation designed particularly for MIDI and Virtual instrument composers. Cubase Pro has the most features of the three Cubase versions and suits professional producers, composers, or mixing engineers. The standout features include:

  • Unlimited MIDI and audio tracks
  • Comprehensive notation support
  • High-end audio effects such as convolution reverb and studio-quality EQs
  • MIDI style note editing features of monophonic audio tracks and automated voice harmonization
  • Seamless integration of external hardware instruments to the sequencer
  • Instrument sounds >3000
  • 256 group channels
  • 64 Track Instruments
  • Control Room
  • Project Logical Editor
  • Advanced Audio Export
  • Spectral Comparison EQ
  • New Score Editor Features and Fonts
Steinberg Cubase Pro 10 Music Production Software
82 Reviews
Steinberg Cubase Pro 10 Music Production Software
  • Award-winning 64-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine with up to 192 kHz, 5.1 surround, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
  • Complete suite of over 90 high-end audio and MIDI VST effect processors, including Quadrafuzz V2, VST amp rack and VST bass amp guitar and bass tone suites, REVerence convolution reverb, frequency Eight-band EQ and many more
  • Comprehensive set of 8 outstanding instruments with over 3, 000 sounds, including HALion sonic SE 3, Groove Agent SE 5, Padshop, Retrologue 2 and LoopMash 2

Pros of Cubase

Cubase is known to be one of the most powerful DAW regarding MIDI, and iconic composers such as Hans Zimmer and JunkieXL are firm advocates of the brand. Whether you are writing music for games, television, or film, Cubase is arguably number one when it comes to MIDI composition. Cubase is the creative DAW that is great for writing, recording, mixing, and mastering.

Cubase workflow allows for customization, and new projects can be created from a wide variety of pre-organized tracks. The keyboard allows for a seamless transition between tracks and sessions and lends itself to composers who need hundreds to thousands of tracks per song.

Cubase boasts one of the smoothest and intuitive MIDI editors on the market, which is why it is a firm favorite with composers. Unlike most DAWs, you may even edit multiple MIDI parts at the same time. Other standout aspects of the Cubase DAW are:

Advanced Export

The advanced export features alone make Cubase the top choice for complex projects, especially in large multichannel projects, television, film, and games. Cubase is hard to beat in terms of its ability to tick off individual effects in a single chain. The new export features are more flexible because new video files are created based on the locators’ position. 

To export a video, users need only to select the required range and select Video from the File/Export submenu. In the Export Video window, users select a name and path and choose stereo output in the video and click export.

Exporting stems is easier and more flexible with features such as:

  • Easy selection
  • Queuing
  • Precise control of signal path (including inserts)
  • Ability to group send 
  • Master Bus features

Enhanced Synchronization

Global tracks enhancement allows users to track as they edit in Key editor to access all their tempo changes, markers, and edits in one window. Cubase also enables the option of automating the pitch blend lanes.

A True Cross-Platform DAW

A true cross-platform DAW works as well on both PC or Mac, so you are not tied to one manufacturer only. The Cubase versatility allows users to migrate from one platform to another without learning a new DAW operation, unlike Logic Pro, limiting users to one operating system (Mac.) Not many of the higher end DAWs are as multifunctional and versatile as the Cubase Pro. 

Precision Editing and Processing

Although many plugins and editors are available, Cubase is ahead of its competitors by offering complete metering and processing that would need to be bought (such as FabFilter and WAVES plugins, Ozone, or iZotope). Cubase offers a complete visual of metering and offers superior control of sound via spectrum and dynamic envelope control.

The Industry Standard for MIDI Sequencing and Arranging

Cubase remains the industry standard for MIDI sequencing and arranging. The company has been at the forefront of music production software since the 1980s, and their innovations have set the standard for most of the DAWs to follow. MIDI sequencing records your notes as MIDI data rather than audio and allows users to graph the y-axis as pitch and the x-axis as time. 

Extensive Tools for Multimeter Analysis

Cubase’s SuperVision tools for multimeter analysis are some of the most extensive on the market. Their SpectraLayers and music notation software is unparalleled on the DAW market, and it generally the first choice in those in the field of music composition. The Cubase analysis tools are generally accepted as the industry standard for multimeter analysis. 

The Multiband Imager

The Multiband Imager gives superior controls over a mix with stereo width and positioning and includes a correlation meter to reduce phase cancellation issues. In contrast, Logic Pro has multiple windows with less visual feedback and control.

The Score Editor

The Score Editor has a Note Editing Overlay and support for fonts from Dorico. Dorico has become the most sought-after note inputting system on the market and creates an enhanced musical notation experience. Dorico allows users to input all of their notes just using their computer keyboard but can be a little tricky for those who are accustomed to the operation.

Steinberg Cubase Pro 10 Music Production Software
82 Reviews
Steinberg Cubase Pro 10 Music Production Software
  • Award-winning 64-bit floating-point Steinberg audio engine with up to 192 kHz, 5.1 surround, flexible routing and full automatic delay compensation
  • Complete suite of over 90 high-end audio and MIDI VST effect processors, including Quadrafuzz V2, VST amp rack and VST bass amp guitar and bass tone suites, REVerence convolution reverb, frequency Eight-band EQ and many more
  • Comprehensive set of 8 outstanding instruments with over 3, 000 sounds, including HALion sonic SE 3, Groove Agent SE 5, Padshop, Retrologue 2 and LoopMash 2

Cons of Cubase

Well Known for Its Steep Learning Curve

Cubase is well known for its steep learning curve, which may be off-putting to new users when there are DAWs such as Logic Pro, which are far more intuitive and user friendly. Mastery of most the DAW systems are difficult for novices, but Cubase has one of the most challenging beginner interfaces to master.

Annoying Dongle System

The Steinberg Key or USB eLicenser is a dongle type copy protection unit required by most Cubase software products. The dongle connects to your computer’s USB port and can store several Steinberg product licenses. Many Cubase users find the dongle system antiquated and annoying as dongles tend to get lost, especially when traveling or working outside a studio.

Tends to Perform Better on PC

Cubase tends to perform better on PC than on Mac, although recent Mac models have improved in their compatibility. Many of the initial bugs when operating on the Mac systems seem to have been eliminated with the recent upgrades of Cubase and Mac systems so it is no longer such an issue.

Cubase 11 Features

Cubase recently underwent an upgrade to Cubase 11, which, although not dramatically changing the interface, added some groundwork and changes to see Cubase grow in the future. Some of the key highlights of the upgrade are as follows:

  • Simpler stems: Cubase 11 takes the repetitive, time-consuming task of printing stems and gives it an overhaul. You may now sync your export selection to your project selection and create and restore file format presets. Cubase 11 allows you to include your master bus effects in your signal path to enhance your mix replication and lets you export your whole queue in one go.
  • New Sampler Track features: The Cubase 11 offers new Sampler Track features with a new slicing mode to chop your loops so they can be played with only one click. They also added two global LFOS to increase motion and a catch to your sounds. From vintage to high fidelity is achieved easily with the sample engine’s new quality modes. 
  • A new Scale Assistant: The Scale Assistant is a novel addition to your songwriting kit. You may set your song’s scale in the Key Editor, follow its lead and adopt a solo to the scale or play live in true harmony. Your Scale Assistant can even analyze your MIDI recording and suggest which scale is correct, which reduces the chance of wrong notes.
  • Dynamic EQ: Frequency 2 has eight bands that can be set individually to dynamic mode and make the filter node dependent on the input signal for precise dynamic mixing. You may also use the multiple side-chain architectures of the VST 3 to set a different side chain for each band.
  • Improved synchronization: Cubase 11 allows you to display Global tracks in the Key Editor to enhance your visual reference to stay in sync with tempo changes or markers. Without having to leave the Key editor, you can now keep your compositions moving efficiently and effectively.
  • Enhanced EDM with Squasher: The easy-to-use Squasher is a dynamic tool that combines up and down compression for up to three bands improving its flexibility in numerous applications. You may use Squasher to cut through the mix, dampen aggressive bass lines, or enhance subtle reverberation.
  • Score Editor enhancements: The new properties tab allows you to easily access matching options and settings of your notation. The Note Editing overlay also enables you to edit notes as conveniently as in Key Editor. The Score Editor now also supports SMuFL font format allowing access to Dorico’s Bravura and Petaluma fonts in Cubase.
  • SpectraLayers One: SpectraLayers One offers a state of the art source separation engine to separate the vocals from any audio track. Perfect for remixes and creating mashups. SpectraLayers also allows users to visualize and clean up their audio tracks.
  • Accurate visual picture of your sound: Cubase 11 offers SuperVision, a multimeter audio analyzer for professional sound production that users may customize to their requirements. Users may choose from a selection of modules to create a custom layout. With up to nine module slots, you can increase the accuracy of your visual sound picture.

If you wish to see an engaging tutorial of the Cubase 11 features, you may watch this video:

Logic Pro X: A Brief Overview

Logic is a macOS based DAW and MIDI sequencer software that began in the 1990s as Notator logic. The original company was bought by Apple in 2002 and renamed Logic Pro and has continued from strength to strength in the DAW software field. Favored by musicians such as Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, and Brian Eno, the Logic Pro remains one of the industry’s top-rated DAWs.

Recently, Apple announced the Logic pro X 10.5, which was the most extensive upgrade since the launch of Logic Pro X. The most significant change was the addition of the Live Loops feature, allowing musicians to produce music in a novel non-linear style. 

Pros of Logic Pro X

Logic Pro is one of the most affordable and well designed DAWs on the market. The user interface is sleek, easy to use, and intuitive and lends itself to both the novice and the professional artists and producers. Although it is not as powerful as the Cubase Editor, Logic Pro’s editor can handle most tasks professionally and efficiently. 

Logic Pro is beginner-friendly and has less of a steep learning curve than Daws such as Cubase. The Logic provides users with an instant user help interface, which goes a long way to helping those new to DAW to find their feet. Logic Pro is best for recording, mixing, and mastering.

The Logic Pro is the industry standard in music production and one of the DAWs most commonly found in professional studios. Logic Pro X is capable of MIDI interfaces and can create extremely high-quality recordings and multitrack sessions.

Best Selection of Stock Plugins

The Logic ZPro offers a wide array of high-quality sounds, instruments, and effects, such as:

  • Analog
  • FM 
  • Wavetable
  • String modulation 
  • Sampler
  • Organ 
  • Clarinet
  • Piano

Comes With Apple Loops

Apple Loops are prerecorded musical phrases that you can drag and drop into your project to create recurring motifs. Some of these loops are good enough to include in your final mix (like Rihanna, Usher, and Grimes.) These Loops are constantly updated to keep you in the loop regarding new music trends.

Updated Loop Libraries

The Loop Libraries on the Logic Pro X are updated regularly, and DJs and electronic music composers can source a wide variety of materials to include in their creations. This allows users to constantly expand their audio repertoire and keep their creations fresh and in line with new audio trends.

Offers Flex Editing Features

Logic Pro offers Flex Editing features for pitch and timing adjustments and track freezing to free up resources when plugins aren’t being used. Flex Time also allows users to automatically detect individual notes in performance and reposition the notes on a grid one at a time manually or all at the same time automatically. 

Flex Pitch gives you control of the exact pitch curve of individual notes and allows users to adjust its tuning, drift, and vibrato.

Allows You to Control the Logic Profile Remotely

The Logic remote allows you to control the Logic Profile on your Mac remotely from your iPhone or iPad. This advance in the Logic Pro X has made the DAW popular with those who benefited from the remote profile’s increased mobility. The Logic Remote extends the creative benefits by taking advantage of Multi-Touch and offering new ways to mix and record using your iPad or iPhone into a mixer and touch instrument.

Best Free VST Plugins

One of Logic pro’s advantages is that it has some of the best free VST plugins available on any DAW. It contains everything you need to get a quality master recording without purchasing any third-party plugins. This benefit allows those new to the DAW systems to find their feet without having initial VST plugin costs at the get-go.

Cons of Logic Pro X

Not So Advanced Audio Editing Features

Audio Editing features are not as extensive or advanced as other DAWs on the market, such as Cubase. Although Logic Pro has a host of features that enhance its ease of use and adapt between live and studio operation, its editing systems are not as advanced as some of the DAWs available. 

Only Compatible With Mac

Logic Pro is not available on Linux or Windows systems, so collaborating can be challenging unless you bounce the stems and have the other producer load them into their DAW. Apple’s price range can also be a challenge for novice producers on a budget.

Can Be Prone to Lags and Crashes

It can be prone to lags and crashes, especially when multiple plugins or a lot are going on in a particular track. This tendency can cause great frustration and hold up the creative process during moments of peak inspiration. However, this is not really a problem limited to Logic Pro but is ubiquitous in those who operate DAWs. 

Logic Pro X Features

Logic Pro has dominated the DAW industry for over two decades, and the release of the Pro Logic X 10.5 update has set its rank ever more firmly for top producers and artists. The 10.5 offers a smoother workflow and many new features and tools that make the Pro Logic X stand out from its competitors. 

Live Loops

Live Loops offer dynamic ways to enhance your composition by adding loops, samples, or recorded material into a grid of cells. You may trigger these cells for heightened flexibility without being limited by arrangement or timeline. You are free to play around with combinations and create song sections, which you can move to the Tracks area to continue production and polish your song.

Users may build from loops or pre-programmed sequences for a range of onstage approaches. Many musicians use their DAW as a playback device, adding live instruments, tweaking the mix, or using their filter cutoff knob. 

Logic Pro Live Loops allows artists to allow their DAW to become a musical instrument itself, with a series of musical cells triggered in real-time. Tracks can be as short or long as musicians require, and the song’s components may be brought in or out according to the audience’s response.

The Remix FX feature enhances Live Loops with filters, graters, echoes, and stutters, which is great for techno, pop, and hip-hop producers. Users may add the effects live over a track or the full song mix. These features can be controlled from your iPad or iPhone easily for greater mobility and versatility.

Logic Pro X 10.5 also supports Novation Launchpad Series and offers the 8×8 color grid with cell-based looping playback and seamless integration with the Pro logic workflow.

Step Sequence Editing

The Logic Pro X 10.5 developers found inspiration in old school drum machines and synthesizers and enhanced their Drum Synth editor. This feature allows users to add variation to their patterns and offers various creative playback actions such as Note Repeat, Chace, and Tie Step.

Sampler

Logic Pro X improved their most popular EXS24 Sampler plugin under a new tag of Sampler. They use a simple one window design to create or edit sample instruments while maintaining backward compatibility with all the EXS24 files. Users have a firmer hand in sound-shaping controls for greater precision and clarity.

Quick Sampler

The Quick Sampler allows users to move or record audio files into the Quick Sampler via the turntable, microphone, instrument, or channel strips. It is then easy to transform a sample into an instrument that you can then play out the full range. 

Other Features

  • Smart Tempo allows enhanced freedom to combine tracks from live play and vinyl samples and to record audio without having to use a click track.
  • Flexible Timing lets users adapt timing and tempo and edit any track without the usual slicing and movement of regions.
  • With Flexible Pitch, users can manipulate and control individual notes and have enhanced control of pitch and levels. 
  • Track Stacks allows users to consolidate multiple tracks into one track and to create sub-mixes quickly.
  • Track Groups and VCA faders allow user control on all tracks’ levels in a group and from a single channel.
  • You may create scores and sound design easily by importing a QuickTime movie or importing an XML to recreate your video project.
  • You may transform your MIDI performance to musical notation in real-time. 

If you would like a peek at what the Logic Pro X has to offer, you can watch an engaging video here:

Cubase vs. Logic Pro: Which Is Better?

Both Cubase and Logic Pro are at the top of the DAW range, with reputations for excellence built up over decades. Each has unique features that set them apart from its competitors and are particularly suited to individual users. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to choose which DAW has the features that best fulfill their particular sound production needs.

Cubase is the first choice in MIDI sequencing and arranging and is the top choice for music composers with large multichannel projects in music production, television, film, and games. Cubase is great for live recording and creating tracks by sequencing MIDI instruments.

Logic Pro is excellent for beginners and experts alike and suits most professional music artists that produce music, make beats, and write songs. Logic Pro lends itself more as a tool to quickly sketch music ideas in real-time and turn them into finished records with ease.

The current version of Logic Pro is the tenth. It has revamped their software leading to a shift in popularity towards Logic Pro X. Some engineers prefer the logic effects over Cubase ones. Logic Pro X is at least 7 years old as it came out in 2013, but there have been major updates to the software since then. Cubase 11 has just come out recently, in January 2021, which is currently receiving stellar reviews.

Conclusion

If you consider an upgrade from your DAW or are new to music production, and you are seeking the best software to make your music ideas a reality, both Cubase and Logic Pro are solid options. 

If you are still unsure which DAW suits you best, you may download the latest Logic Pro version for 90 days for free or Cubase free trial version for 30 days. With a sample of both these top-rated DAWs, you can better decide how you will bring your musical ideas into reality.

Komplete and Ableton are two great alternative DAWs, check out to see which is better here!

Sources

Last update on 2021-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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